Creative Arts Events

English: Creative Readings and Workshops

Visiting CNF Writer, Nadia Owusu

Nadia Owusu is a Ghanaian and Armenian-American writer and urbanist. She was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and raised in Italy, Ethiopia, England, Ghana, and Uganda. Her first book, Aftershocks, A Memoir, topped many most-anticipated and best-book-of-the-year lists, including The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, TIME, Vulture, and the BBC. It was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. Nadia is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award.

Her lyric essay, So Devilish a Fire won the Atlas Review chapbook contest. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, The Lily, Orion, Granta, The Paris Review Daily, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Catapult, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, and others.

By day, Nadia is the Director of Storytelling at Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned consulting firm that helps social-change organizations to define goals, execute plans, and evaluate impact. She is a graduate of Pace University (BA) and Hunter College (MS). She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction at the Mountainview low-residency program where she now teaches. She lives in Brooklyn.

Visiting Playwright, Donna Hoke

  • Reading and Conversation
    Thursday, March 17, 2022, 7:00pm, Black Box Theater
  • Playwriting Workshop
    Friday, March 18, 2022, 12:00pm, Room 8-200
    Please email Maria Brandt for PDFs of Hoke’s plays.

Donna Hoke’s work has been seen in 47 states and on five continents. Plays include Brilliant Works of Art (Kilroys List), Elevator Girl (O’Neill, Princess Grace, and Austin Film Festival finalist), Safe (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and Teach (Gulfshore New Works winner).

She has been nominated for the Primus, Blackburn, and Laura Pels prizes, and is a three-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (Seeds, Sons & Lovers, Once in my Lifetime). She has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop Hearts of Stone, and, in its final three years, Artvoice named her Buffalo's Best Writer—the only woman to ever receive the designation.

Donna served the Dramatists Guild Council since 2012, is an ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions, blogger, moderator of the 13,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook, New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; children's and trivia book author; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. Speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, the Austin Film Festival, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been seen on #2amt, howlround, The Dramatist, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, Workshopping the New Play (Applause, 2017), and on Donna's website,

Visiting Poet, Kevin Prufer

Poet and editor Kevin Prufer was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned degrees from Wesleyan University, Hollins University, and Washington University. His work, which has been praised for its elegiac attention to the banalities of the contemporary United States, includes In a Beautiful Country (2011), a finalist for the Rilke Prize and listed as a 2011 Notable Book by the Academy of American Poets, and National Anthem (2008), named best poetry book of the year by the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Other collections of poetry include Fallen from a Chariot (2005), The Finger Bone (2002, reissued 2013), and Strange Wood (1997). A bilingual edition of Prufer’s poetry appeared in Germany as Wir wollten Amerika finden: ausgewählte Gedichte: zweisprachig (2011), selected and translated by Norbert Lange and Susanna Mewe. Prufer edits the journal Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing; other editing projects include Until Everything Is Continuous Again: American Poets on the Recent Work of W.S. Merwin (coeditor with Jonathan Weinert, 2012), Dunstan Thompson: on the Life & Work of a Lost American Master (with D.A. Powell, 2010), New European Poets (with Wayne Miller, 2008), Dark Horses: Poets on Overlooked Poems (with Joy Katz, 2006), and The New Young American Poets: An Anthology (2000).

Prufer’s many honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation. He has received three Pushcart Prizes, awards from the Poetry Society of America, and the William Rockhill Nelson award. He is a professor in the English Department at the University of Houston and lives in Houston with his wife, the artist and literary critic Mary Hallab. (Author bio cited from the Poetry Foundation website.)

Visiting Prose Poet/Flash Fiction Writer, Peter Conners

Peter Conners has published eleven books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, and edited dozens of volumes of poetry and prose. His nonfiction books – Cornell ’77; Growing Up Dead, JAMerica, and White Hand Society — have garnered him a reputation as a leading chronicler of the Grateful Dead, jam band, and countercultural community. Spring 2022 marks the publication of Conners's debut novel, Merch Table Blues, and his first prose poetry collection in a decade, Beyond the Edge of Suffering.

His other books include the prose poetry collections Of Whiskey and Winter; The Crows Were Laughing in their Trees; and the novella, Emily Ate the Wind. He is also editor of PP/FF: An Anthology and the Executive Director and Publisher of the award-winning independent publishing house BOA Editions, Ltd

Conners’s books have received reviews in such places as Rolling Stone Magazine; Library Journal; Penthouse; Publishers Weekly; Vice; Kirkus; The Onion; and The New York Post. The San Francisco Chronicle noted that “Conners writes like a poet and researches like a scholar,” and NPR Books likened his writing to “…the way music sounds when your surrender has no limit.” (Author bio cited from Peter Conners). 

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The Sixth Act

SA Night at Geva
Somewhere Over the Border

Inspired by the real-life journey of the writer’s mother (Reina Quijada) from El Salvador to the US – and by L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Somewhere Over the Border embraces the factual and the fantastical in its depiction of one young girl’s pursuit of the American dream. As Reina travels north to the Mexican border, she gathers friends, faces down dangers, and holds tight to the memory of the little boy she left behind. Set in the 1970s and propelled by cumbia, Mexican mariachi boleros, American rock and hip hop, this new musical is both fable and family history – and a testament to the determination born of love.

Fifteenth Annual Sixth Act Student Playwriting Competition

  • Thursday, May 5, 2022, 7:00pm, Black Box Theater

This competition encourages MCC students to write plays for an audience, to provide MCC students a competitive venue for their scripts, to offer winning playwrights the opportunity to see their scripts performed as staged readings with an eye towards future play development, and to offer VaPA students the opportunity to participate in the new-play-development process. Three winning playwrights receive cash prizes. One winning playwright also will have his/her play submitted to a nationwide competition. Scripts will be accepted for consideration beginning in September.

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Mercer Gallery

Nate Hodge "Anarchitecture Studies"

Thursday, January 27 - Thursday, February 17, 2022

  • Artist Lecture
    Thursday, January 27, 4:00 - 5:00pm (In the Mercer Gallery)
  • Opening Reception
    Thursday, January 27, 5:00 -7:00pm

Judy Gohringer "Paths & Portages"

Thursday, March 3 - Thursday, March 31, 2022

  • Opening Reception
    Thursday, March 3, 5:00 -7:00pm

Ira Epstein "Form is Emptiness (Emptiness is Form)"

Thursday, April 7 - Thursday, May 5, 2022

  • Opening Reception
    Thursday, April 7, 5:00 - 7:00pm

44th Annual Student Art Exhibition

Thursday, May 12 - Friday, June 10, 2022

  • Opening Reception
    Thursday, May 12, 5:00 - 7:00pm
    Opening includes award ceremony and Barbeque Dinner

For more information on all Mercer Gallery Events, please email Jason Flack

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All of the following music events are free and open to members of the community.

Combined Vocal and Instrumental Concert

  • Wednesday March 2, 2022, 7:30pm in the MCC Theater

Vocal Concert
“American Composers, Then and Now”

  • Wednesday May 11, 2022, 7:30pm in the MCC Theater
    Please email Roland Fisher for more information.

Instrumental Jazz Concert
“Jazz Legends from the Rochester Area”

  • Wednesday May 4, 2022, 7:30pm in the MCC Theater
    Geoffrey Smith (former MCC music professor, current FLCC music professor), bass
    Phil Lake, drums (FLCC drum professor)
    Additional guests TBA
    Please email John Nyerges for more information.

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“It’s Only a Play”

  • Friday, April 1, 2022, 7:30pm
  • Saturday, April 2, 2022, 7:30pm
  • Sunday, April 3, 2022, 2:00pm

It's Only a Play is set on the opening night of Peter Austin's new play, as he anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares his big First Night with his best friend, a television star, his fledgling producer, his erratic leading lady, his wunderkind director, an infamous drama critic, and a wide-eyed coat check attendant on his first night in Manhattan. There's no business like show business.

Drama-On-Demand Showcase

  • Friday, May 27, 2022, 6:30pm
    In cooperation with The Sixth Act, students will perform vignettes from various plays.
    Please email Kate Sweeney for more information.

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